USAID Supports Legal Analysis of Libya’s Draft Law on Property Restitution and Compensation

Since the ousting of Muammar Qadhafi in Libya in 2011, the country has been on a shaky path to peace and security. Libyans have been dealing with the consequences of Qadhafi’s rule and the short, destructive civil war that followed his ouster. Due to a long history of property expropriation by the Qadhafi regime and disregard for long-standing customary claims to land in rural areas, issues relating to housing, land, and property (HLP) rights are often the cause of grievances and conflicts.

In March 2013, the Ministry of Justice of the Government of Libya issued a Draft Law regarding properties expropriated by the state since 1978. The law includes provisions regarding restitution and compensation for those whose property was expropriated by the state under Law No. 4 – a provision the Qadhafi regime used to justify wide-ranging expropriations.

USAID’s Supporting the Justice and Security Sector through Property Rights (SJSSPR) Project elicited Libyan citizens’ significant concerns about HLP issues, supported local efforts to resolve HLP conflicts, and identified how HLP issues can be better addressed in order to contribute to long-term peace and security. The SJSSPR project supported a legal analysis of the Draft Law by Landesa, a U.S.-based organization with extensive international experience on HLP issues. Their analysis suggests that, with further refinement, the Draft Law could be an important step for achieving long-term peace and security by addressing historical HLP injustices.

The legal analysis noted that the Draft Law is an important first step toward resolving long-standing HLP grievances in Libya, but identified several opportunities for improving it. Those opportunities include specifying the historical period for which citizens can file compensation or restitution claims, providing details regarding the restitution process, and recognizing the right of women to participate in and benefit from a restitution program. See the full analysis of the Draft Law, including the recommendations and read more about Land Tenure and Property Rights in Libya.